Voice of God Recordings - Because He Said So - Part 2:
I never will forget the day I received my copy of "Because He Said So," the newsletter published by Voice of God Recordings printed to defend the failed prophecies of William Branham by claiming the Bible itself had issues. I was disheartened, knowing full well the damage this kind of message could do to a people not armed with information about the Bible they claim to know.
It was particularly saddening to read the second section entitled "The Four Gospels." The way in which Voice of God presented the comparison between statements in the four accounts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was disgraceful. To summarize the section, the author attempts to place each of the Gospels in question by highlighting specific points they feel are contradictions -- but then leave the reader wondering why! They are not reconciled, because Voice of God Recordings could not reconcile the many contradictions and failed prophecies given by William Marrion Branham. It appears they feel it is better to leave the reader in the dark about their alleged contradictions, since they will forever be left in the dark about fundamental issues with the material they publish.
At this point in my life, I had just begun my journey of study of the Bible. Not just the written text, but a full study of how the text came to be, the different genres of books in the Bible from poetry to prophecy to witness testimony and more. I was deep into studying the men who decided upon the Bible Canon, why they chose the books and letters we now read, and why others were dismissed. I studied the field of "text criticism," which contrary to how it sounds, is the method used by the King James translators as well as modern translators in deciding which text is authentic among the more than five thousand different families of copies of the Bible.
While in the cult of William Branham, this type of study was strongly forbidden. Though Branham surrounded himself with theologians and even gave "honorary" titles of "Doctor [of Divinity]" to men like Lee Vayle, the cult strongly forbids the study of the history of the Bible and all that is in it, the subject matter of seminaries. Many in the cult call these places "cemeteries," implying that only the eternally dead would visit such a place. If they only had access to the photograph of William Branham proudly standing by one of his favorite seminaries!
In the cult, one is programmed to believe that a single man, William Branham, is the sole authority of scripture. Moreover, one is programmed to believe that everything one needs to know about the Bible is on recorded tape -- not realizing that Branham never mentions entire books of the Bible critical to understanding the covenants of the Mosaic Law and the eternal covenant of Grace. Without being armed with information, readers of this article were suddenly handed an atomic bomb, asked to place it inside of their bible, while Voice of God lit a fuse to destroy the Book they claim to uplift through their printed material. Again, simply put, they raise several questions without giving any answers. Their strategy is to apply the same logic to the Bible that they ask you to do with William Branham -- BELIEVE IT BECAUSE WE SAY SO.
This post is not intended to spark a debate on the different types of answers that normal (not programmed) Christians are armed with to defend such attacks to the Gospels they hold dear. For centuries, men much more qualified than myself have given defense of the Bible, all the way back to Justin Martyr and Irenaeus whom William Branham claimed to have respected. Different schools of thought are applied to this defense of the faith, called "apologetics," and most normal (not programmed) Christians are aware to some extent of the apologist method.
The method used by most fundamentalist or evangelical churches is the belief of "Scriptural Inerrancy." Ironically, this is the same belief proclaimed by Branham cult pastors -- at least until the publication of this article. Many ministers that have proclaimed Scriptural Inerrancy for the past fifty years have now changed their tune: they claim that because their bibles have error, William Branham was justified in his wrongdoing.
The points of contradiction raised by Voice of God Recordings are these:
* That the book of Matthew was in error when it claimed there was an earthquake
* That the book of Mark was in error when it claimed that there was only one angel (or ANGLE as the newsletter misprinted)
* That the book of Luke was in error when it stated that there were three women at the tomb
* That the book of John was in error when it stated that Jesus instructed Mary to go and tell the disciples
Those who believe in Scriptural Inerrancy would have no issue discussing these claims to reconcile. In fact regardless of which methodology used to defend the faith, most apologists would simply tell Voice of God Recordings that most of these are not even contradictions. Because one witness felt necessary to describe an earthquake, while others awe-struck that God's only Son had risen did not write about it, is that really a contradiction? Even a non-Christian historian would tell you that this is simply a detail that one account includes and the others do not.
The rest of the points Voice of God Recordings attempts to convince their following are "contradictions" are much the same. Those who believe in Scriptural Inerrancy will tell you that one single woman visited the tomb, and returned with more women. And they will tell you that Voice of God Recordings was a bit mistaken about the "two men versus the two angels" -- most Christian ministers interpret the two "men in white" as angelic beings.
But not all Christians use Scriptural Inerrancy in defense of the faith. Other Christians believe that the Bible can be inspired by God while NOT inerrant. This group of Christians would argue with Voice of God Recordings that these were four .. separate .. witnesses testifying to the same event. And any who have watched a court trial calling witnesses to describe an event will bear different results, each from the perspective of the witness. Maybe Matthew was the only one who remembered the earthquake! Maybe Luke, shocked to hear of angelic beings walking the earth, recorded three women instead of two. Does that make his witness testimony of Christ's Resurrection any less valid?
The deceptive strategy used in this section by Voice of God Recordings is to lead the reader to believe that because they question the Gospels written by four different men, we should not question the accounts given by one single man: William Branham.
But what if this publication, "Because He Said So," were instead published about William Branham? What if instead of Matthew's "one angel" and Luke's "two angels," we had the "Gospel according to William Branham" verses the "Gospel according to William Branham?" And William Branham claimed that he remembered both one angel AND two angels, two women AND three women, an earthquake and NOT an earthquake?
In reality, these are the types of contradictions found in the ministry of William Branham. One man, multiple versions of each story. Not multiple men with a few minor details differing.
Those in the cult following of William Branham must ask themselves: Why did Voice of God Recordings change from stressing Scriptural Inerrancy when the public became aware that William Branham contradicted himself multiple times and about multiple unforgettable events? And why have the pastors done the same? Why is it so important to uplift the man, William Branham, that they would start questioning the Gospels proclaiming the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Are they proclaiming Jesus Christ? ... or are they proclaiming William Branham?
Voice of God Recordings, Catch The Vision Update, 2012 Volume 2, "Because He Said So"